Friends, neighbours shock in 'Kink'

PAT ST. GERMAIN - Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:52 AM ET

WINNIPEG - You know what they say -- cold hands, warm heart. And other parts. X-rated Showcase series Kink found all the red-hot goods in frigid Winnipeg during an unseasonably chilly summer shoot last year.

Let's see: Paddle-wielding Dominatrix, transvestite hooker, transgender cabaret stars, voyeur-seeking married couple, curious tourists on a quest for divine gay enlightenment -- it seems our town is a veritable hotbed of Kink-y activity, as viewers will no doubt discover in droves when the fourth season premieres Friday at 11:30 p.m. on Showcase.

That's a good thing for the network, not so good for some of the show's participants. Billed as the exhibitionist wannabe porn stars next door, married couple Erik and Krista are conflicted now that the show is going to air nationally. They're kinda proud they had the nerve to take part but belatedly concerned about what co-workers, parents and some friends will think.

"We're a little bit apprehensive about how it's going to come across," Erik says. "I'm going to have an interesting time with the people that I work with."

To be fair, most of the people who will be talking about Erik in the coffee room -- and, yes, they will be talking -- will never see most of the 60 hours or so of footage shot over six weeks.

"It was everything from mowing the lawn to cooking dinner," Erik says.

We did not notice a lawnmower in the first episode, which has a scantily clad Erik, 34, and Krista, 26, sharing a few tender moments at home, travelling by limo to pick up a third wheel at a local nightclub and simulating sex for cameras later on. By season's end, with prodding from the filmmakers, they'll go all out, and make a porn video. But the couple make it clear they are not swingers -- although they like an audience, they only have eyes for each other.

"In the end it was fun. It's not something we do all the time, although it may be portrayed that way," Erik explains.

"I think maybe we got caught up in the whole thing -- the cameras and the limo. We liked the attention and we got caught up in the whole scenario ... It's a lot of embarrassment, and I'm hoping that we'll look back in a couple of years and laugh our heads off."

Local filmmaker Noam Gonick, who worked on Kink's second season in Toronto, had a hand in Winnipeg segments with flamboyant transvestite hooker Alexis, who has since left town -- along with dominatrix Pandora, who is now a housewife in Alberta, and lesbian S&M novices Steph and Shelly.

Gonick took a fun-loving approach to his segments, even adding a few dramatic recreations.

"I was trying to do a bit more of a Simple Life thing with Alexis," he said, adding he thought it would be more entertaining to go the Mark Burnett faux-reality route.

Gonick, who explored the S&M scene in experimental art films in film school, says he would have been stunned to know that 10 years later, the topic would be a weekly staple on a cable specialty channel. He did not work with other characters in the series but he's familiar with the cast and, you know what? He thinks it's nice that there's something in Kink for everybody.

So does series creator and director Eddie Ochmonek. Based in Vancouver, Ochmonek says the Winnipeg Kink is like past seasons in some ways -- participants always get comfortable around a camera crew and often go farther than they wanted to go kinky-wise. But this season is more personal than in the past, he claims.

"Without exception, every one of our subjects this year is dealing with interpersonal relationships. I think this season has more emotion," he says.

It also has whips, watersports, hot wax and some painful-looking clamp thingies. And that's OK. Because Ochmonek's ultimate goal is to show that even the kinkiest folks deserve to be seen for who they are on the inside -- not laughed at for how dorky their dom gear looks on the outside.

"Really, humankind is all searching for love."


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